Local Sports Sponsored by BCB Your Community Bank
Holmdel, N.J. - Playoff time has arrived and the Holmdel High School girls lacrosse team got the job done on Tuesday afternoon by advancing to the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA North 2, Group 2 Tournament with a 14-5 victory over No. 11 Parsippany Hills.
Big games from Jules Brown, Erin Mendini and Sam DiMaio fueled the the No. 6 seeded Hornets to their 11th win of the season and their first trip back to the quarterfinals in two seasons.
Holmdel got off to a bit of a slow start, seeing Parsippany Hills take an early 1-0 lead off a Meaghan DeBenedette goal.
The Hornets got their groove on after that, scoring eight unanswered goals to take firm control of the contest.
DiMaio began the Holmdel run by slashing in her first of three goals in the first half.
After Kinsey Clark set up Brown beautifully for her first goal of the game with a sweet pass to extend the Holmdel lead to 4-1, DiMaio followed with her second goal of the afternoon.
Brown made it a 6-1 lead for the Hornets moments later, patiently taking it to the net off the free possession and tapping in her second goal of the game with 13:41 to go in the first half.
Following Clark’s first goal of the contest, DiMaio racked in her 11th hat trick of the season with 12:23 left to play in the first half to culminate the 8-0 run by the Hornets.
“We started controlling the draws and started to hit open people and get on a run,” said Holmdel girls lacrosse coach Sal Guastella. “If you win the draws, you can get on a run. That’s what happens in girls lacrosse.”
DeBenedette recorded her second goal to stop the Holmdel run, but Mendini answered back for Holmdel with a nice little run of her own.
Tacking in her first score of the game to put the Hornets back up seven, the senior struck again to get Holmdel into the double digits.
Mendini cut to the net after receiving a great pass from teammate Jess Lukawski and knocked home back-to-back goals for Holmdel to make it a 10-2 contest with 6:23 to play in the first half.
“At first, the cut wasn’t there, so I attacked again and saw that I was open and called for the ball and shot it,” Mendini said. “Those two goals were really important to kind of sealing the deal in the first half and keep us moving along.”
Leading 12-3 with under a minute to play in the first half, Holmdel picked up more momentum going into halftime thanks to Brown.
Taking advantage of the free possession again, Brown drove in and powered home the second hat trick of the afternoon for the Hornets with 48 seconds left in the first half to put Holmdel up 12-3 at the half.
Mendini added in Holmdel’s third hat trick of the day with scoring the team’s first goal of the second half that made it a 13-4 lead for the Hornets.
The senior now has 43 goals on the season. An assist in the win gives Mendini a team-leading 31 assists this spring.
Brown followed up Mendini’s score with her game-high fourth goal of the contest, racing into the Parsippany Hills’ zone and striking a shot into the back of the net to give Holmdel a 14-4 lead with about 18 minutes to play.
The sophomore also added a team-high three assists in the win.
“I know if I don’t have the shot, that my teammates are there to take shots on goal and try to score,” Brown said.
DiMaio tallied an assist to go with her three goals on the day. She now has 49 goals on the season for Holmdel.
Clark finished with two goals and an assist, giving her a team-leading 61 goals on the season.
Lukawski had each a goal and an assist in Holmdel’s win.
The Hornets are 11-1 this season when they score 10 or more goals in a game.
Holmdel goalkeeper Jess Boetticher had seven saves in net.
DeBenedette and Arianna DiLauri each scored a team-high two goals for Parsippany Hills.
Holmdel improves to 11-7 on the season and will play No. 3 seed Bernards in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Mendini believes that Holmdel has what it takes to make a long run in the tournament.
“We’re a pretty deep team,” Mendini said. “We all have each others back and know how to support each other. I have a good feeling about us in the tournament. We’re gonna have to come out and play our best against Bernards in the quarterfinals to win.”
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports